Saturday, December 6, 2008

more interesting stuff about Bill Gates

I have just finished reading the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He is a writer who often writes for the New Yorker and he has a rather interesting perspective on success. In his book, he states that success is not necessarily due to innate talents or gifts but rather to both effort and serendipitous opportunity. Neurodiversity proponent Frank Klein once said that autism equals genius and greatness. I would link to Klein's webpage for all those neurodiversity doubting thomases, but his web page seems to have been taken down some time ago. Thomas Edison said that genius was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Gladwell in large part espouses the latter view. He demonstrates in his book how usually to achieve a great level of proficiency in any given area approximately 10,000 hours of practice is needed. This is in any field of endeavor, including computer programming, fiction writing, basketball playing, etc. This equates to 3 hours of practice a day for 7 days a week for ten years. As some people know, I have written An essay in which I question the autism of Bill Gates and other people. Some persons in the autism community seem to believe that Bill Gates is autistic. I wrote a variety of facts about Gates. Gladwell presented some more interesting facts. When Gates was in the seventh grade, his parents enrolled him in Lakeside School, a very Tony private school in the Seattle area. The parents of the school's students raised enough money to buy a computer terminal at the school. The students at Gates' school started a computer club. This was in the late 1960s during which time very few schools, including universities, had computer clubs yet Bill Gates got to join one at age 13. Time sharing computers were a very new thing and at this age Gates got a jump on just about everyone else. Another parent at Gates school worked at the school had a firm that sold time sharing to companies and was able to get Gates and other students at the school free computer time in exchange for testing software. Gates become obsessed with this machine and would often spend as much as thirty hours a week working on the computer. Gates mother wondered why it was hard for Gates to get up in the morning. In my essay I wrote about Jactatio Capitus, a neurologic condition in which people rock in a manner reminiscent of autistic people, yet it does not impair their functioning the way autism does. It is often caused or exacerbated by sleep deprivation. Then someone who knew Bill Gates got a call from TRW asking for people who had experience programming the type of main frame that he was working on at the time, The supply for such people in those days was short as luck would have it. With the consent of the Lakeside school Gates was able to pursue an independent study program as an adolescent working for TRW on this computer. All of these extraordinary opportunities which would not conceivably be available to more than a handful of people in the entire world in those days gave Bill Gates gobs of free time to practice computer programming and get in the 10,000 hours that Gladwell writes about. Although Gates undoubtedly has some intelligence and talent, serendipitous opportunites quite clearly played a role in Gates being able to acquire computer skills. Gates conceded in an interview with Gladwell that if there were even 50 teenagers in the entire world who had the opportunity to gain the type of training and experience that was offered to him he would have been surprised.

No one can really dispute that at least in large part extraordinary luck played a part in Gates' acquiring the knowledge that he did. Not to mention the fact that he was able to make friends with Paul Allen who also attended the Lakewood school and also acquire the same type of knowledge that Gates did. As my psychoanalyst used to say, "two heads are better than one" so that was all the more strength for the fledgling microsoft when Allen helped Gates with the new startup in the mid 1970s.

To those who claim that Gates is autistic and that his success proves that autistic people can succeed, I saw, read Gladwell and look at these facts.


JediKnight2 said...

"Neurodiversity proponent Frank Klein once said that autism equals genius and greatness."

"Thomas Edison said that genius was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration."

These two quotes with the former coming from an autie and the latter coming from someone who those with an ASD claim he had Asperger's (or JUST might have) come to show how impaired or flawed someone's logic is when trying to defend someone's autism as not being a real disability and always using the 'glass half-empty' excuse (i.e.- "Your brain just works a bit differently, that's all!")

I find it funny that a group like neurodiversity exists to ALWAYS discuss their 'glass half-empty' attitude. Like someone from encyclopedia dramatica wrote, it "[e]xplains why asspies are passionate about doing nothing."

Here's the link describing everything we're not and what many others with an ASD are like....'s_syndrome

As for me, I'm a "die alone" autistic who propably is an autism surplus adult (I may have ADD- definately have executive functioning problems) whose autism has fallen under the moderate category as I've gotten older according to my speech pathologist. I would have much rather been born as an otherkin autie than a die alone autie.

JediKnight2 said...

This is what I sound like....the main character from "Garden State" starting...

(I'm the guy in black that says "Balls" on my forehead- the first person who speaks!)

Hardware store scene is how gullible I sound due to my disability because of my slow processing speed which causes judgemental problems.....

And the pool scene is what I sound like when I eventually decide to hang around and talk to a selected number of people like you...(the persevering stuff when he talks to Natalie Portman in the shallow end of the pool)....

So now you have a better idea of what I'm really like compared to a bunch of other successful autistic spectrum individuals.

Anonymous said...

There are some Asperger's folks who like to use Gates as some sort of proof of their superiority, which is unfortunate. I don't see him as having very profound AS, though I do think he has it. His attorney's claim that they couldn't get him to stop rocking during the 8 hours of testimony he was under during the Microsoft anti-trust court case.

It is sickening how some want to use figures like Gates to promote AS as a form of evolution and deny the fact that AS is a disability. I do like to point to Gates to support of the idea of societal integration.

Gates was lucky. He is more of a marketer than he is a techno-geek. His programs are mostly crap and copied crap at that. He really hasn't had an original idea other than how to market his copied software.

Microsoft, it should be noted, was one of the first companies to promote autism related insurance in their self funded policy for employees which leads me to believe that autism must have been at a higher prevalence in their company's employees than in most.

I don't know much about Edison, so I can't comment.


Ivar T said...

Meh, I really don't think I put the things into neurodiversity that you do.

This might not be your style, but I would personally just criticize the attitude that I dislike and not necessarily claim that attitude to have anything to do with neurodiversity - thus you aint pissing off large parts of the audience, which might be good if you really want to get your message across.

I've seen ChaoticIdealism criticize attitudes within the neurodiversity community many times, still, as far as I know, she subscribes to neurodiversity.

jonathan said...

Well, Ivar you can read my post about chaotic idealism which i think you may have already read, where i linked to her web page and she just stated basically that people who blame their autism for the problems in their lives are just using autism as an excuse.

As far as I am concerned, she is neurodiversity's answer to Michael Savage. She has no credibility whatsoever.

Ivar T said...

I really don't think she intended to offend anyone. I believe her idea was that - because Asperger's is something you can do little about, it isn't necessarily productive to say that it is the reason why you have experienced something unfortunate, as there are probably other things that took part in leading you to the set of unfortunate events which are easier to work with.

It's kinda like this:

"I didn't make it to the Philippenes in time because I don't have superman's high-speed flying ability"

Not having superman's high-speed flying ability are by some people's definitions a disability.

I've no idea if it makes sense to you.

jonathan said...

well no it makes no sense to me at all. Nothing people in the ND movement say makes any sense to me. I don't intend to offend anyone either, but it still seems i have managed to offend you and some other ND people as you seem to imply in your previous post and so you seem to think i should stop writing negative things about ND. Well it works both ways, Ivar, just as you think i say things about ND that are not true, they say things about people who want to cure autism that are not true and i find a lot of what they say offensive, but i don't think they will stop writing it just because it offends.

Therefore I will continue to write unfavorable things about ND because I find what they say offensive.

Ivar T said...

Asking you to not write negative stuff about neurodiversity doesn't sound too good, nah, you do that and that's basically alright, but when you make neurodiversity into something it is not - at least not too most subscribers of neurodiversity - then that can be quite a bit offending.

jonathan said...


It can be quite offending when persons from the neurodiversity movement make out those who disagree with them to be something they are not so it works both ways.

Ivar T said...


I was actually thinking of you when I commented a post by Ettina here.